If you are just getting started with content marketing, then conducting competitive analysis is crucial for your further plan of action. Competitive content marketing analysis is essential for you to understand what the market is like and how you should plan out your content marketing strategy to be able to compete with other brands like yours.
That being said, if you are only at the beginning of your content marketing journey, it can be challenging to fully grasp the scope of competitive content marketing analysis. Hence, here’s everything you need to know about how to conduct a content marketing competitive analysis.
What Is Competitive Analysis for Content Marketing?
So, what exactly is competitive content marketing analysis? To put it simply, it is the process of analysis conducted on your competitors’ content marketing activities to understand their content marketing strategies. Such analysis can help you find out which topics they cover that perform well, how they promote their products, what their social media presence is like, and more.
Once you have identified all of these key pieces of information, it is much easier for you to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and to use this knowledge to your advantage. After all, competitive analysis for content marketing is not just about analyzing other brands but also analyzing your own and improving its content marketing strategy as the final result.
The best thing you can do is conduct a competitive content marketing analysis before you start planning your content marketing strategy. This way, all of your future actions will be motivated by your extensive knowledge of the market. However, you can also conduct such analysis from time to time to continue strengthening your content marketing strategy and improving your content marketing campaigns.
#1 Determine Who Your Competitors Are And Make A List
The first and very obvious step is to determine who your competitors are and to make a list. This is crucial for conducting your competitive content marketing analysis correctly and accurately because you will need to take into account all the brands against which you will be competing. Here are some tips on how to identify your competitors:
- Differentiate between direct (brands that offer products or services very similar to yours) and indirect (brands that offer products or services different from yours that are targeted at your audience and could solve the same problems) competitors.
- Throughout your analysis, you will need to focus on direct competitors. However, you still need to keep a list of indirect competitors in case any of them decides to shift their focus and becomes your direct competitor.
- Find digital media outlets and online publications that target the same audience as yours. While these aren’t brands offering products or services like yours, these are still your competitors in content marketing. Make a separate category for them.
#2 Collect Information About Their Products Or Services
Once you have a complete list, you can start collecting information about the products or services offered by your competitors. Here’s what you should look at when collecting such information for your competitive content marketing analysis:
- What is their product line like? Are they a low-cost or a high-cost provider? Do they mostly depend on volume sales or one-time purchases?
- Which sales tactics do they use to promote their products or services (e.g. partnerships, sales, discounts)? What are the outcomes of these tactics (success level, scope or reach, etc.)?
- Which sales channels are they using and what does the sales process look like? Are they expanding or scaling down their content marketing and sales activities?
- What kind of pricing models do they use? Do they offer any specific perks (e.g. free shipping)?
- What kind of digital marketing tactics do they use to promote their products or services? How do these tactics complement their offline marketing campaigns?
If you are unsure about how to collect information about the products or services offered by your competitors, you can hire a professional writer using a custom writing reviews site like Best Writers Online. A writer like this will have the right skills and experience to conduct the research for you and create a report with all the details you need to know about each brand.
#3 Take Note Of Their Branding And Positioning
The next thing you should do is look at the branding and positioning your competitors use. These will allow you to better understand what their business core is like and what kind of brand image they want to create for themselves to appeal to their target audience. Here are some things to pay attention to when researching your competitors:
- Their basic information that can be gathered from their website, including titles, metadata, homepage copy, etc.
- Their top product or service categories, best sellers, etc. on their website that can potentially help you determine the general focus of their content marketing activities.
- Their writing tone and style on all of their digital content, including their website, social media profiles, ads, etc.
- Their establishment and authority level (i.e. Are they established on the market or are they new to it? What is their market share like? Do they have brand recognition?)
#4 Analyze Their Content Marketing Strategy
Next, you will need to analyze the content marketing strategies of each one of your competitors. Things to consider include:
- Does their website have a blog? If not, do they have a blog that is separate from their website? Do they offer an email newsletter? Do they have social media profiles?
- How often do they publish content on each of the platforms or channels they use for their content marketing?
- What types of content do they rely on in most of their content marketing? What types of content have they never created? How does this affect their content marketing?
- Are their content and content marketing accurate? Are there any linguistic mistakes? Is their content formatted for readability and structured for coherence?
- Is their content free to access for anyone or is it paid? Do they offer any exclusive content (either free or paid)?
- Who creates content for their content marketing? Do they utilize user-generated content? Do they allow guest posts?
- How original is their content? Do they use any stock content (e.g. stock photos)?
- What kinds of calls to action do they use? How often do they use them? Where do they place their CTAs?
- What kind of tech do they use for their content marketing activities (e.g. their customer reviews could indicate that they are using an auto-reply tool to provide customer support via email)?
- What kinds of topics do they cover and how do these correspond to the types of content they publish (e.g. product guides in video format)?
- How long is the content they publish? Is it go in-depth into the topics they cover or is it mostly beginner-level information?
- Do they work with any influencers in your niche for their content marketing activities? How do they work with these influencers?
- Which additional tactics do they use to support their content marketing (e.g. pop-ups to get more email subscribers)?
#5 Look At Their SEO Metrics And Content Marketing Tactics
Not only is it important to analyze the content marketing itself but also the success of your competitors’ content marketing activities. Look at their SEO metrics as well as the content marketing tactics they use. Here are some questions to keep in mind that will help you find all the necessary information:
- What are the engagement levels on their content? What are the number of likes, comments, shares, etc. that their content gets? How do these correspond to the different aspects of their content (e.g. topics, formats, platforms)?
- What is the general sentiment seen in the interactions between them and their audience? Are their comments mostly negative or positive? Are there many users complaining about their experiences and do they receive customer support (via social media, for instance)?
- Which hashtags and tags do they use? Which keywords do they use and what is the keyword density in different types of content? How popular is their content for respective keywords?
- Which alt tags do they use for their visual content? How do they optimize their visual content for search engines?
- How often do they use internal and external linking? How good is their backlink profile?
- What are their key SEO metrics like (i.e. monthly organic search traffic, domain authority score, top country by traffic, average time on site, top keywords)?
If you can’t find all the relevant information about your competitors, you can work with a professional writer from a writing services reviews site like Writing Judge who will do all of the research for you. This way, you will get the most accurate information about your competitors and will be able to conduct your competitive content marketing analysis correctly and accurately.
#6 Check Their Social Media Marketing Strategy
As mentioned above, you need to take into account the social media profiles that your competitors have. But it is also a good idea to dive deeper into their social media marketing strategy because it is an essential component of their overall content marketing strategy. Check such things as:
- Their social media presence and engagement rates, including ways they drive engagement (e.g. CTAs, social sharing buttons).
- Their social media strategies, including influencer marketing, giveaways and contests, cross-posting and cross-promotion, and so on.
- The social media platforms they use, including the ones you don’t use for your own brand and either intend or don’t intend on using.
- Their posting frequency and consistency, including how these two correspond with the way their content performs.
- The influencers they work with as well as other brands they have partnered with.
- The way they interact with their audience, including starting discussions in the comments, sharing UGC, etc.
- Their content and content marketing that has gone viral, if this occurred in the past.
While analyzing their social media strategy, think about the bigger picture and how their activities relate to their content marketing at large. Try to be critical with your analysis to get the most accurate picture of both their social media marketing and their content marketing (and their digital marketing strategy in its entirety).
#7 Perform A Final SWOT Analysis To Get The Full Picture
To fully understand the extent of their content marketing and get the complete picture, it is necessary to perform a final SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Such analysis can be used both for their content marketing and for their other activities. In fact, it is also recommended to conduct it on their business strategy if you have relevant information about their business activities.
To conduct a SWOT analysis, ask and answer the following questions:
- What do your competitors excel in (e.g. content marketing, ad campaigns, sales, product design, etc.)? Where do your competitors perform better than you and have an advantage over you?
- What do your competitors fail to do or achieve? What are their weakest areas? Where does your brand have an advantage over them?
- Which areas could your competitors improve over time and how can they do this?
- What are some threats that your competitors could be facing on the market?
- What are some opportunities that your competitors could take advantage of in the nearest future?
The results of your SWOT analysis will help you identify the strongest and weakest areas in your competitors and their content marketing. If you conduct such analysis on your own brand, you will have a much better understanding of your own content marketing which will then help you to apply your findings about your competitors to your own content marketing strategy more effectively.
#8 Apply Findings To Your Own Content Marketing Strategy
Last but not least, you need to apply your findings to your own content marketing strategy. In other words, you need to turn your competitive content marketing analysis from passive research into active reform and application. Here are the final steps you should take:
- Summarize all of the findings of your competitive content marketing analysis
- Perform a similar kind of content marketing analysis (including SWOT analysis) on your own brand
- Summarize the changes you need to make to your current content marketing strategy
- Test new approaches and ways you can improve your content marketing
- Try new tactics either borrowed from your competitors or completely original ones
- Consider performing competitive content marketing analysis on your indirect competitors
- Perform competitive content marketing analysis regularly to continuously keep improving your own content marketing strategy
Without a doubt, a proper competitive content marketing analysis requires some time and effort, so don’t try to rush it and make sure to perform all the steps. The more accurate your competitive content marketing analysis is, the more useful your findings will be for improving your own content marketing strategy and successfully launching future content marketing campaigns.